Chemical Storage Color Codes

In regard to storing chemicals near one another it is important to know if the chemicals are compatible with one another.  In other words, will they be good neighbors or will they react with one another and possibly cause damage to the lab and harm the building occupants? 

To be certain that chemicals are stored properly, UAF uses the J.T. Baker (now part of Avantor) color storage code system.  This system organizes chemicals according to certain properties and then assigns that property a color.  The idea is that chemicals of the same color can be stored together safely.  The properties and colors are as follows:


[blue icon]

Toxic.  Chemical is hazardous to health if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.  Store separately in a secure area.


[red icon]

Flammable.  Store separately only with other flammable chemicals in a flammable liquid storage area.


[yellow icon]

Reactive/Oxidizer.  May react violently with water, air or other chemicals.  Store separate from combustible and flammable reagents.


[white icon]

Corrosive. May be harmful to eyes, mucous membranes, and skin.  Store separate from combustible and flammable chemicals.

[green icon]

Reagent presents no more than a moderate hazard in any category.  General chemical storage.


[gray icon]

Used by Fisher Scientific instead of green.


[orange icon]

No longer used and replaced with green or gray color codes.


[striped icon]

Diagonally striped. Incompatible with other reagents of the same color code.  Store separately.  For example acids (white) and bases (white with black diagonal stripes) should be stored separately.  


Many chemicals come with the color code already on the label.  If your chemical container is not color coded, check the SDS Hazards Identification section in the SDS.  You may use colored tape, dots, or permanent markers to mark your container. If you cannot find the color code for a particular chemical, give us a call at x 6771, x5197 or x5617.

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